Despite the Bank of England’s insistence that the recession is over, over two thirds of British adults (76%) still feel that the state of the economy is in a bad way and see few signs of hope, a survey for the Sun suggests.
This represents a worsening of opinion of two percentage points (from 74%) compared to a survey asking an identical question earlier this month (March 12th). A significant 43% feel that the economic situation of their household will change for the worse in the next twelve months compared to just 19% who think it will improve. To many, Chancellor Alistair Darling’s Budget last week may have seemed a chance to change all that; but it’s possible that bringing the subject to the public’s attention just made it worse - 51% have denounced the budget as either ‘fairly bad’ or ‘very bad’ compared to just 21% who call it ‘good’ overall.
But as for the knight in shining armour poised to haul the country out of danger, the public still remain unconvinced. When asked to choose between Labour’s Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling or the Conservatives’ David Cameron and George Osborne, only 30% claimed a preference for the Conservatives – hardly a clear majority compared to Labour’s 24%. In fact, most (38%) decided that neither could be properly trusted to raise the standard of living.
Interestingly, in an earlier survey from the 23rd March, when asked who they would rather have as Chancellor, 23% claimed that they would choose Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat shadow Chancellor, compared to 15% apiece for Alistair Darling and George Osborne. It remains to be seen whether Cable’s performance on Channel 4’s ‘The Chancellors’ debate yesterday will affect his popularity.
Taxes are often cited as the means through which to raise crucial funds, but neither party is winning many votes in this regard; 57% of respondents think both parties would raise taxes significantly regardless of their respective policy pledges. Eight percent would expect Labour to raise taxes following the election, but half again thinks the Conservatives would, at 12%. Only eight percent say that neither party will raise taxes significantly.